Fuel shortage causes host of midweek non-league football matches to be postponed – but some clubs claim rivals are taking advantage of crisis to rest ahead of lucrative FA Cup ties
- Panic buying across England has caused a fuel crisis which is affecting football
- Multiple games across the Isthmian League have been postponed because of it
- Some clubs affected believe the postponements are a bid to get some extra rest
- Many clubs in the seventh and eighth tiers are preparing for lucrative FA Cup ties
The ongoing fuel crisis across England has spread to football with several midweek non-league matches forced to be postponed.
A directive from the Isthmian League – which covers the seventh and eighth tiers of English football – allowed for the possibility of clubs to request a postponement for matches in light of the fuel shortage.
A shortage of HGV drivers has sparked panic buying across petrol stations and while the president of AA believes the crisis will ease in the next 48 hours, many clubs are unprepared to travel and as such have postponed matches.
Non League football clubs across the seventh and eighth tiers of English football have been allowed to postpone matches in midweek due to the ongoing fuel shortage in England
At least eight matches have already been postponed owing to the fuel crisis with Chipstead FC Surrey vs Chertsey Town, Whitehawk against Burgess Hill Town and Worthing against Merstham among the matches called off.
While a number of clubs have accepted the league’s offer of postponement, critics have pointed to lucrative FA Cup ties at the weekend as a motive to axe midweek matches.
Folkestone Invicta, who have postponed their match midweek with Hornchurch FC, and Whitehawk are among the Isthmian League teams involved in Saturday’s FA Cup third qualifying round.
Clubs such as Cray Valley PM FC have been left bemused at rivals being able to call off games
Supporters critical of cancellations have pointed to lucrative FA Cup games at the weekend with some teams involved now able to get a full week of rest before third qualifying round
ISTHMIAN PREMIER GAMES POSTPONED
Bishop’s Stortford P-P Enfield Town
Bognor Regis Town P-P Leatherhead
Bowers & Pitsea P-P Corinthian Casuals
Folkestone Invicta P-P Hornchurch
Lewes P-P Carshalton Athletic
Margate P-P East Thurrock United
Worthing P-P Merstham Town
Winners of ties at the weekend will receive £5,625 and will have ensured a minimum £3,125 more for participation in the fourth qualifying round.
Supporters pointed to this lucrative weekend of cup action as a reason for postponements as clubs detailed their decisions across social media.
Many of the seven games postponed for Tuesday night in the Isthmian Premier Division involve teams involved in the FA Cup.
Enfield Town, Bowers & Pitsea, Corinthian-Casuals, Folkestone Invicta, Hornchurch, East Thurrock United and Merstham are all involved at the weekend.
Cray Valley, who were due to play Phoenix Sports on Tuesday, were among those sides to be critical of mass postponements.
The club tweeted: ‘The league directive took us very much by surprise and it was our visitors decision to cancel this fixture.
‘We were not expecting this and it was not our decision, so apologies to everyone who has been inconvenienced.’
The fuel shortage is expected to ease in the next 48 hours but clubs have taken early decisions
Bury Town, who were slated to face Dereham Town, released a statement to supporters to reveal they had no desire to postpone.
It read: ‘The match has been postponed as Dereham are unable to get enough club officials and volunteers to the ground in order to stage the game safely due to the current fuel issues.
‘A directive came from the Isthmian League on Sunday afternoon that should any club wish to postpone their fixtures could do so due to the current fuel issues.’